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State Should Buy Out Flood-Prone Homes, Says Senate President [AUDIO]

MORE: NJ Recovering from Sandy

In the Garden State, a new slogan emerging could be, “If we build it, another storm will knock it down.”

John Moore, Getty Images

New Jersey needs a new game plan when it comes to flood-prone areas where homes are suffering severe storm damage year after year according State President Steve Sweeney. He thinks buying the homes out should be a consideration.

Sweeney has toured flood-ravaged areas. When he was with Governor Chris Christie recently he spoke with homeowners.

Sweeney explains, “People were pleading with us to buy out their properties and not re-build them and they’re right, we should.”

Homeowners haven’t always been so willing to have the state snap up their properties. Sweeney says, “I spoke to them and said, ‘Before these storms came if we tried to get you to move you would never do it,’ and they said, ‘You’re right, but now after three storms in three years we can’t afford to stay here anymore.’”

If the state could buy up homes in chronically flooded areas with the homeowners’ blessing, Sweeney says the land could be preserved and re-development could be barred. He hopes parks or some other type of recreational area could stand where the homes once did.

“First we spend a lot of money to keep the water out,” says Sweeney. “Then we spend a lot of money when we have to fix the homes. Then we re-build them and they flood out again and we re-build them……We really have to do something to help these communities (and) allow these homeowners to move out of these areas. It’s not fair to keep them there subject to these storms every single year.”

Similar to the State’s “Green Acres” fund that buys open space and saves it, New Jersey already has a flood-area buyout program. It’s called “Blue Acres.”

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